The Undergraduate Program
Our undergraduate program in Sociology offers students the opportunity to study a great number of topics pertaining to the organization of social life. Such topics include the study of social interaction and small group dynamics, research on processes of identity formation, the examination of critical social problems, research on human population dynamics, and the identification of large-scale patterns of social inequality based on factors such as class, gender, and race. Our Introduction to Sociology course (01:920:101) provides an overview of the discipline and introduces students to the incredible diversity of sociological research. Sociologists also study a variety of social institutions in depth, such as the family, schools, the healthcare system, the criminal justice system, sports, and the political system. Our 200-level courses focus on these and other vital social institutions and how they operate.
At the 300-level, we offer courses that acquaint students with methods of conducting sociological analysis, and with foundational theories that continue to inform contemporary sociological research. We also provide courses at the 300- and 400-level that focus on, and provide a sociological perspective on, topics such as deviant behavior, race relations, mental illness, organizations, social psychology, gender, the law, the environment, the social organization of economic life, social networks, and human sexuality. Every semester we also offer a small number of Topics courses based on our faculty’s areas of expertise. Our undergraduate curriculum is broad, harmonizing well with several other disciplines including (but not limited to) Political Science, Psychology, Anthropology, Criminal Justice, and Communications. Furthermore, a number of our courses are cross-listed with other units of the University, including Women’s Studies, Jewish Studies, the Department of Labor Studies, and Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies
The following are the undergraduate learning goals of the department of Sociology:
1. Students will understand the sociological perspective, a distinctive analysis of the ways people think, feel, and behave that focuses on how they are situated in historically, culturally, and socially specific environments.
2. Students will understand key questions addressed by the discipline and the ways in which social structure and social interaction shape human behavior.
3. Students will develop the skills necessary to read and evaluate social science research in an intelligent and critical manner.
4. Students will understand the role of theory in the construction of sociological inquiry. Majors will demonstrate a solid grasp of the central ideas of major classical and contemporary theorists.
5. Students will understand sociological methods of research. Majors will achieve a solid understanding of the full research process, including conceptualization, operationalization, data collection, analysis, consideration of ethical issues, and presentation of results. Sociology Honors students will demonstrate their understanding of the research process via completion of a Senior Thesis.